Originating from New Zealand, self-described South Pacific fusion group Te Vaka perform predominantly original music rooted in a variety of Polynesian musical traditions.
Formed in 1995 by singer/songwriter Opetaia Foa'i, Te Vaka meld captivating vocal harmonies, pulsating rhythms, and traditional dancing with contemporary pop influences. After releasing their eponymous debut in 1997, they found international success with their 1999 follow-up, Ki Mua, which reached number one on South Pacific mainstream radio and entered world music charts around the world. Over the ensuing decade, Te Vaka became a staple of international festivals, racking up awards for albums like Tutuki (2004) and Haoloto (2009), and making appearances everywhere from London's Royal Festival Hall to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Coinciding with their first North American tours in 2010 and 2011, Te Vaka released their seventh album, Havili, introducing a whole new continent of audiences to their unique musical melting pot that represented cultures from Tokelau, Tuvalu, Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands, and New Zealand. Not long after, Foa'i was approached by Disney to write several songs for their Polynesian-themed animated feature, Moana. Several members of Te Vaka also appeared on the soundtrack of the Oscar-nominated film, which was released in 2016. The following year brought both a Greatest Hits collection and the band's first all-percussion record, Te Vaka Beats: Percussion Album, Vol. 1. ~ Timothy Monger & Dave Sleger, Rovi